A truck full of Toys for Tots donations stolen from a Northern California warehouse has been recovered without the load of toys, organizers say.
The theft occurred on December 8th near Brainard, California on Highway 101.
According to Lost Coast Outpost, the thieves first broke into a bobtail truck at Green Diamond Resource Company, then drove it to the warehouse where the toy donations were stored. The thieves then broke into the warehouse, removed the surveillance cameras, and stole the trailer packed with toys. The thieves then drove the rig straight through a gate and left the scene.
The truck was later found abandoned, but the toys are nowhere to be seen, said Gregg Gardiner, coordinator for Toys for Tots in Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte and northern Mendocino counties. He says a “a significant portion” of the donations from this year were taken in the theft.
“Someone managed to gain access to the facility,” Gardiner said. “They managed to steal a truck from a construction company, a semi-truck, come over to our warehouse and use a bolt cutter to get into our warehouse, and then take toys.”
“[I]t’s hard to imagine that anyone would break into the Toys for Tots warehouse but that’s exactly what happened on Friday night,” Toys for Tots wrote on its Facebook page.
“We’re going to make sure somehow that we pull this together so that not a single child is impacted,” Gardiner said to KIEM TV. “That’s our mission. That’s what we do. We’re [a] 100% volunteer organization.”
“At first I was angry and then I started thinking about our community,” Gardiner continued. “And I think about all the supporters that help us all year long to make this program possible to service all these kids and all these counties. I think about the folks that donate trucks to move our goods, I look at all that stuff and I think to myself, you know, maybe it’s time to turn the frown upside down. Let’s be grateful for these great people who help us so much.”
The Eureka Police Department has agreed to increase patrols in the area, but no further information has been released.